BRIDGEPORT - An apparently unfounded bomb threat unexpectedly closed the Bridgeport post office Thursday, prompting police and emergency personnel to reroute traffic in the area for more than two hours.
Emergency personnel and law enforcement officers converged on the post office, located on the corner of South Lincoln Avenue and Howard Street, about 2:35 p.m. following a call from a man to the post office.
According to Bridgeport Police Chief Andy Klotz, the caller said, "There's a bomb in the post office and no one is to leave." He then hung up.
A fire truck blocks traffic during a bomb threat Thursday at the Bridgeport post office.
"There were two employees in the building at the time of the threat," Klotz said. "Both of them were evacuated."
The employees both were taken out of the building via a back door, Klotz said. He noted that his officers were "taking all the precautions necessary to make sure the area is safe and secure."
Residents of the surrounding neighborhood were advised of the situation.
A bomb-sniffing dog from the Muskingum County Sheriff's Department arrived at the scene shortly before 5 p.m. The dog searched the brick structure and the property surrounding it but no bomb was found.
"Once the area is determined to bomb-free, we will start looking at where the phone call originated," Klotz said.
Meanwhile, Bridgeport police, fire and emergency personnel blocked off both roads adjacent to the corner building. Traffic exiting from the northbound lane of Ohio 7 was forced to turn right and go north on South Lincoln Avenue. Drivers who had planned to head south on South Lincoln Avenue were redirected onto Hall Street.
Eastbound Howard Street traffic was detoured through residential neighborhoods and back to Ohio 7 to go south or to Hall Street to go north. Some large trucks were forced to back up or turn around because they were unable to make the tight turns.
Traffic was permitted back on streets surrounding the building at about 5:20 p.m. Early reports indicated a bomb squad from Columbus was being sent to scene, but the unit's help was not needed.